A round-up of the day's news from South Africa.
HOSTAGE DRAMA PLAYS AT A MANGAUNG PRISON
Prison officials at the Mangaung Correctional Centre outside Bloemfontein have confirmed inmates are holding a female administrative staff member hostage. Andy Baker, head of G4S, told Sapa prison management was dealing with the incident, but did not give more detail. Eyewitness News has reported that three people have been injured as the crisis plays out. A spokesman for police union Popcru told EWN the prison didn’t have adequate measures to deal with the crisis, with one unit manager and a trainee on hand. G4S is understood to have dispatched more private security personnel to the scene. The hostage drama comes just weeks after 400 prison warders were dismissed for taking part in an unprotected strike.
BABY SAMANTHA’S PARENTS SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN JAIL
Adriaan Netto and his girlfriend have been sentenced to 18 years in prison for the rape, abuse and subsequent death of their 10-month-old baby, known as ‘Samantha’. Judge Majeke Mabesele gave Netto and the woman, who can’t be named to protect the identity of her other children, four years each for culpable homicide, three for abuse and 15 years for rape. The sentences for culpable homicide and rape will run concurrently, Sapa reported. The judge said the couple showed no remorse, and that a clear message had to be sent to communities and parents that the violation of children’s rights would not be tolerated.
HAWKS NAB MEN FOR PUBLIC WORKS SWINDLE
A wealthy Johannesburg businessman and a department of public works official have been implicated in a multimillion rand swindle in which the department paid over R40 million in leases for buildings it never occupied. The Star reported that businessman, Sayed Hoosen Mia, and state employee, Desmond Simamane, are alleged to have conned his bosses into leasing buildings owned by Mia and getting kickbacks in return. The Hawks and the Gauteng Directorate of Public want the case prosecuted as a matter of urgency. The pair face charges of corruption and money laundering. The department called the Hawks to investigate.
NXESI AND MAZIBUKO SLUG IT OUT OVER NKANDLA REPORT
Minister of public works Minister Thulas Nxesi has accused the Democratic Alliance of trying to score political points after parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko approached the Western Cape High Court an effort to get a copy of his department’s report on spending of over R200 million at President Jacob Zuma’s private home in Nkandla. Nxesi said the DA was “desperately trying to score party political points over the Nkandla security upgrade”. But Mazibuko said Nxesi was “at the centre of a cover-up of the biggest scandal involving the abuse of public money during President Zuma’s term in office”. She said Nxesi had failed in his responsibility to make public a report whose transparency is in the public interest. “And it is because of his delaying and cover-up tactics over the past year that the DA was forced to approach the Western Cape High Court,” she said.
MALEMA: JACOB ZUMA IS A THIEF
President Jacob Zuma a “thief” who should not be a role model says EFF leader and former ANC Youth League president, Julius Malema. He was addressing thousands of students at the University of Limpopo. City Press reported that Malema told the crowd, “Zuma must never be your role model. He is a thief. In Zuma we see a self-serving leader.” He also accused Zuma of killing the ANC Youth League of Peter Mokaba and Nelson Mandela as he knew it would “bring about change”. Members of Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters are contesting Student Representative Council elections on the campus.
TREASURY: GOVT ADDRESSING ISSUES RAISED BY IMF
The national treasury says it is already addressing some of the issues raised by the International Monetary Fund in its annual country report on South Africa. The IMF said South Africa’s poor growth could not just be attributed to the global economic crisis but also to domestic labour issues and uncertainty over its economic policy. Treasury, in a statement, said, “The issues raised by the IMF report are indeed issues that are already captured in government policies and programmes.” It said South Africa could not rely on the “global economy to reignite growth and create job opportunities for the millions of unemployed South Africans”. It said action was being taken to improve labour relations in key sectors and that administrative structures and processes are being strengthened towards improved service delivery and public accountability.”
NEF CEO SAFE FROM SUSPENSION – FOR NOW
Chief executive of the National Empowerment Fund, Philisiwe Mthethwa, has not been suspended, for now. The board of the NEF said after taking legal advice, and pending the results of Deloitte’s forensic investigation into the allegations against Mthethwa and two colleagues, trustees decided not to suspend them. The decision follows weekend reports that a whistleblower had made allegations against Mthethwa. The board said it had met to establish a framework to investigate the allegations. Earlier, Business Day reported that the NEF had written off R290 million in non-performing loans. Mthethwa also came in for flak for funding upmarket boutique, Luminance, in Johannesburg, to the tune of R34.1 million. Minister of trade and industry, Rob Davies, called for a report into that decision.
SAMWU STRIKE ON THE CARDS
The South African Municipal Workers’ Union has threatened that over 200 000 workers across South Africa would go on strike unless their demands are met. Union spokesman Tahir Sema told the Mail&Guardian local government strikes would take place nationally as the issue at hand are “of a national nature”. Negotiations between Samwu and the South African Local Government Bargaining Council are deadlocked, but a facilitation process is taking place, Sema said. The parties are at odds over the collective agreement that governs the sector, its disciplinary code, an increase in the homeowners’ allowance and a dispute about bringing municipal-owned entities under the scope of the South African Local Government Bargaining Council. Negotiations are due to end on Thursday, and a decision on whether to strike or not will take place afterwards. DM
Photo: Julius Malema
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